In 2020 bring the world to you in Vegas

The Bells, the Bells! And that’s just the Bell’s whisky!

In the words of the world’s most famous binman, that great sage Coronation Street’s Norman ‘Curly’ Watts:

‘Who told the Scots that they owned New Year?’

Being of the Scots variety myself I’d just taken it for granted that it was ours.

So like the rest of us Caledonians I partied over the TWO (count them) public holidays.

But what of the other places around the world where they hold New Year’s parties too.

All Greek to me

Athens: They’ve been waving their togas around and clinking vessels of wine while we were still scratching ourselves and drawing on walls.

And they still are up at the Acropolis (although I can’t swear to the togas bit).

But there are few better backdrops for a New Year’s fireworks party than Athens’ most iconic landmark… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrlU10r2zOA 

I know all about the Acropolis having endured a modern-day Odyssey to get there in the autumn of last year (still sounds funny to write that).

Read all about it as you plan your travel itinerary for this year… Acropolis later and http://www.athensattica.com.

I can’t recommend Lufthansa http://www.lufthansa.com and Aegean Airlines http://www.aegeanair.com highly enough after they got me out of a jam. Which is why it was an odyssey.

Never sleeps

New York: The Big Apple is a film set at any time of the year and we all know the tradition of the ball drop in Times Square (and I thought that was all behind me as a teenager).

But regardless of what you might be told it’s not just us tourists who pack out the square on the last day of the old year… my  own NY rellies do too.

Of course the neon lights, billboards and skyscrapers are worth seeing any time of the year.

And if you do then check out my pal Tom’s Beacon Hotel, the jewel of the Upper West Side. He loves all visitors but especially the Irish…. https://www.beaconhotel.com 

While check out the New York websites and avail of the City Pass too for the best way around the great city… http://www.nycvb.com and http://www.citypass.com

The great thing about Ireland and the States is just that… but also the pre-clearance.

A dam good party

Amsterdam: The Son and Heir’s pal Amsterdam Andy, although he hails from Bray he’s been given the moniker (by me) on account of working there now.

I’m well jel.

The Rembrandtplein is one of the best squares in a city where there is no shortage of them.

Mainly on account of the sculpture recreation of the Nighwatch https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pictures-of-amsterdam/which you can place yourself in for a photo… of course we did.

If you’re feeling flush then fork out for the Dylan Hotel which is where George and Amal stay…. you deserve it https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/george-and-amal-hotel/

Visit http://www.iamsterdam.com.

There’s another Scotland

Glasgow: I know all about Edinburgh having lived ten years there and Daddy’s Little Girl being born there.

And I also enjoyed more than my fair share of Hogmanays (don’t ask me why) at Merkat Cross in my student days before the whole action was moved up to the Castle and Princes Street.

But while Edinburgh prides itself on its New Year celebrations, its great rival Glasgow has a party every weekend.

The George Square party in 1990 was legendary as it heralded in the Dear Green Place’s year as European City of Culture.

When two likely lads stood in Princes Street in Edinburgh with a signpost saying ‘you are only 55 miles away from the European City of Culture.’

Stay at the http://www.carlton.nl/en/hotel-george-glasgow. In typical first-footing welcoming style they will leave you a bar at the top of the hotel in your private lounge too!

And visit http://www.peoplemakeglasgow.com, the website which does what it says on the tin.

Vegas, baby

And only because my year is revolving around my IPW American Travel Fair trip http://www.ipw.com to host city Las Vegas http://www.lvcvb.com.

It’s the ultimate party city at the ultimate party time of the year.

A travel colleague was in touch as soon as the bells had rung to talk about what we were going to do.

I don’t know but I’ll be on the lookout for Cami, a Utah transvestite who I might just have proposed to.

But what stays in… well, you know the rest.

Stay at the Palazzo at The Venetian http://www.venetian.com. And read all about my adventures in https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/vegas-strip-the-light-fantastic/

Because if you can’t get around the whole world at New Year or any time of the year (and I am trying my best) come to Vegas.

Where the world is on your doorstep… Paris up the road, Venice here and even ancient Egypt too.

I love it… fly out with British Airways, I did http://www.ba.com.

And I’ll be giving it plenty in 2020.


My Sporting Weekend – racism and bigotry

World Cup winner Paul Pogba’s personal gesture against racism in wearing a black and white wristband commends him.

Which is something you don’t often hear many people say about Manchester United’s mercurial Frenchman…

The wearing of rubber bands denoting charitable or political campaigns seemed to kick in in the Noughties.

And I’m a fan www.kickitout.org although it’s more to do with destinations I’ve visited.

Band of gold

To remind me on a wet and dank day in Ireland of sunnier climes.

So I have California http://www.visitcalifonria.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/03/stair-wars-3/at hand.

Denver http://www.denver.org and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/go-west-denver-buffalo-bill/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/29/the-new-pioneers/too.

And Portugal http://www.visitportugal.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/

While there’s Dresden http://www.dresden.de and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/ as well.

My link with the Maldives https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/12/atoll-tale-the-maldives/ and http://www.kuramathi.com and http://www.kandolhu.com was broken.

When the band snapped over the Christmas season.

Although my memories never will.

Glasgow belongs to who?

Symbols have always been at the very heart of sport:

The colours and designs of strips or uniforms, club badges or crests and buttons.

Although sometimes they can land you in trouble.

And the players in the Celtic and Rangers Catholic and Protestant divide know it.

Whether they grew up in the West of Scotland or bought into it.

Mo Johnston controversially crossed the divide and himself (well at least when he was at Celtic, the Catholic gesture particularly provocative to Rangers fans).

While Paul Gascoigne gullibly responded to the egging-on from Rangers fans by mocking a flute player.

Another incendiary action in Glasgow’s religious tribalism, conjuring up the Protestant King William of Orange’s victory over the Catholic King James II.

That flute is OK

Sometimes even the football forces its way into the argument.

The debate du jour in English football is whether players and teams should walk off if they are racially abused from the crowd.

I never had to encounter being either physically or verbally abused over the colour of my skin.

But I was spat at on a bus by religious bigots in Glasgow as a child because of the colour of my uniform.

Which is why I was so drawn to Rosa Parks’ sit-down protest on the bus in the Deep South.

And was so humbled by the sacrifices made by black (and white) Civil Rights protesters.

On my trip through Memphis, Tennessee www.memphistravel.com and www.deep-south-tourism-com Mississippi. And www.visittheusa.ie.

Not our problem

No such discussion is had regarding religious bigotry in Glasgow despite they’re being on average one murder surrounding the Old Firm game every time the two meet.

Which they do tomorrow.

Worthy words will be expressed in Glasgow, my home city http://www.peoplemakeglasgow.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/15/sportstraveltraveltravel/.

And when (and it’s almost always when, not if) it kicks off there will be no end of head-shaking.

It’s only a kids’ game

But no talk of partial ground closures, playing behind closed doors, walk-offs, fines or points deductions.

It’s not for nothing Celtic and Rangers are called The Old Firm. The religious divide fuels their economy.

So the answer is in Glasgow vernacular: Nae Chance.


Hungry and Thursday – curried Christmas Turkey

Yes, it’s a thing here in Ireland where St Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day to everyone else) is when they curry the left-over turkey.

Which obviously got us thinking about the no-neck poultry.

You’d think that they’d have a built-in antennae for the time of year when they’re most in danger.

But these guys I met in Tobago www.visittobago.gov.tt on my Caribbean adventures https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/07/ready-steady-goat-in-tobago/ seemed totally oblivious.

You see my cooking has come on leap and bound this year…

I even cooked something.!

After being given the recipe for Dahl curry by our hosts G Adventures in Dublin… https://www.gadventures.com/?aw_ag_id=49375547731&aw_kw_id=aud-360242417736:kwd-296402816580&aw_ad_id=297109875494&aw_nw=g&phonecode=PPC_SEM_Brand&gclid=Cj0KCQiArozwBRDOARIsAHo2s7t7hmH99Ist6icPt9oHDzkak2RC_How1OfDnhxuuj7arpD5lLi6X2MaAl0BEALw_wcB.

Of course it’s only a start and nothing like the feasts our Jordanian hosts put on for us… Petra and the sands of time And http://www.visitjordan.com

And in the desert too!

Going underground

With their zarb where they bury meat, veg and rice in a pit in the ground, add lots of embers.

And wrap it in blankets and bury it in sand.

The zarb is put on in the early afternoon and by the evening it is meltingly tender.

Not much call for it though in chilly Greystones here in Ireland.

So where’s the best curry. India? Probably. But remember it is Britain’s national dish.

Curry belongs to Glasgow 

And in Glasgow where there is a big Asian population and where they gave birth to Chicken Tikka Masala.

When Ali Aslam, the owner of the Shish Mahal restaurant http://www.shishmahal.co.uk added tomato soup and some sauces to his chicken curry.

To satisfy a Glasgow bus driver who had sent it back because it was too dry.

Scottish and Sub-Continental fusion is a definite thing.

Which I knew about being of the Caledonian variety myself I belong to Glasgow but with which I renewed acquaintance…

Piping hot

When I visited the World Pipe Band Championships… https://www.theworlds.co.uk

In ma wee hame toon Glasgow https://peoplemakeglasgow.com/visiting/top-reasons-to-visit-glasgow and https://www.visitscotland.com.

The perfect fusion between Scot and the Sub-Continent is in fact in the Sub-Continent.

Or more precisely with the Sri Lankan staff on the Maldives with Island… Atoll tale – the Maldives and http://www.kuramathi.com And http://www.kandolhu.com

Where I played cricket, of sorts, and football (chased shadows).

And, of course tucked into their food which comes from everywhere.

Although I might arrange for them to get some Irn-Bru shipped in.

And now that we’re well into the Christmas drinking… here, by popular demand, Jocktails, your favourite Cocktail column by your Scottish cocktail guru.

And this is a reminder of what we’ve got in the bar… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/01/jocktails-the-strawberry-daiquiri/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/15/jocktails-bajan-monkey/

While try out https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/29/jocktails-mimosas/



Time flies – Ryanair’s €9.99 UK sale

That’s the thing. If you sit still then you miss out on the big Ryanair sale.

Ryanair has a seat sale on for the UK with flights from €9.99.

Now bear in mind that a single coach trip from Aberdeen was twice that 30 years ago and it gives you an idea of what great value this is.

Heck, you don’t need a reference point. It just is.

He’s waiting for us. Photo by Samuel Wölfl on Pexels.com

The thing is you have to be quick. Because the sale runs out at midnight tonight, Wednesday August 28, or when the seats have been sold out.

I’d bank on it being the former.

Yes, London, obviously is in the destinations in the deal. http://www.visitlondon.com.

And I know a bit about it although you know me by now… I come at it from my own particular angle… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/23/carole-king-youre-beautiful/ And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-london-life/

But Ryanair flies to Liverpool too, the friendliest city in England. Heck, the most welcoming city anywhere. http://www.visitliverpool.com.

I’ll gather my thoughts and my old photos and put together a Day in the Life on Liverpool. Hold me to it.

Evertoians, don’t shoot me. Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

And, of course, Scotland is still part of the UK. At least until after Brexit.

So that means Glasgow and Edinburgh. http://www.peoplemakeglasgow.com. And http://www.edinburgh.org.

Now you all know about Edinburgh although that won’t stop me sharing some random thoughts from time to time.

But you might not know as much about my native city, Glasgow. Here’s a good starting point http://I belong to Glasgow.

Glasgow is known for its murals

Ryanair http://www.ryanair.com knows that those of us who call Ireland home don’t all live in Dublin.

And so they have deals out of Cork, Kerry, Shannon and Knock too.

So what are you waiting for? Check in and get over to the UK.

And when you do, just mention my name.

They’ll either ask when am I coming back or plead with you on their knees to keep me here.

And because it’s good to share then read my fellow blogger’s culinary post on London gracethoroughgoodbeauty.


Flyday Friday – Flying the flag

When an airline pulls out of a route it merely opens up the market for another, and who can blame Aer Lingus for putting their hands up?

While recognising the challenges for everyone in the aviation industry, our national airline carrier was quick to flag up its product in the wake of the Norwegian news.

Aer Lingus, as we all know, has 16 direct routes to North America.

With Mineapolis-St Paul the latest to arrive on the rank.

And while it is something of sport to diss them probably because they represent the institution.

Crackin’ city: Philadelphia

But I’ve been more than a happy flyer with them, particularly when they moved me when a poor lady was sick next to me half an hour into our flight to LAX.

And they arranged a wheelchair for her on her arrival in Los Angeles.

Aer Lingus flies Dublin to LA from €209, a one-way fare based on a return trip. Valid for travel between October and November.

And at the other end of the scale is Dublin to Philadelphia from €139 and Dublin and Shannon to New York from €149.

Book at http://www.aerlingus.com. And remember that you’ll get pre-clearance. Happy days!

I could choose from many of their great destinations and hope to see a few more.

But I’ll flag up Philadelphia here and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/philadelphia-freedom/.

An epic Saga

Photo by Kata Pal on Pexels.com

Saga conjures up a different image for me. Of a time when I worked looking after oldies (of whom I am now one).

But in connection with Iceland, of course, it is something epic.

What Icelandair refers to as business equivalent comes in at a competitive €250 one way to Reykjavik.

The economy class is €68 one way.

The Autumn and Winter Special Offers end on August 27 at 23.59.

It is for the travel period of October 1 to March 28.

And it is based on one-way fares on a return ticket. https://www.icelandair.com/en-ie/flights/special-offer/

Fly belong to Glasgow

Being one of God’s chosen people, a Glaswegian, I keep an eye on happenings in the Dear Green Place from across here in Ireland.

And by Dear Green Place I refer to the orgins of the name of the city, the Scottish Gaelic phrase for it..

Now you may be thinking that this is just an excuse to put one of my oul puns on the Glasgow Music Hall songs.

And you would be half right.

Prize guys: In Glasgow

But it is also worth flagging up that easyJet has a new route from Glasgow to Birmingham.

Not that I’ll be needing it any time soon but you might.

I’m told that easyJet http://www.easyjet.com is the largest airline in Glasgow and operates up to 294 flights a week across 19 routes.

And that it was also the first airline the carry one million passengers in a year from Glasgow.

It also has up to three flights a day to Belfast which means the Son and Heir can fly over to see his grannie.

Everyone’s a winner.

And to find out more about Glasgow see http://www.peoplemakeglasgow.com and http://www.visitscotland.com.

And if you want to see what carnage myself and my mum caused when I took her to the World Bagpipes Championships in Glasgow then read on… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/15/sportstraveltraveltravel/